Saturday, May 31, 2014

Summer is Here!

Seriously, not a moment too soon! But before we move on to talk of Peeper carnage, the pool, and other general McK happenings, let's wrap up some school topics. Today was a big mail day. We received the letter that let us know Maggie got into the honors program in middle school - yeah no gen pop!

Also arriving today, the letter that let us know Eion did not get into PLATO. Long before this letter arrived, we decided we were at peace with whatever came our way, if he got in, that was great, if not, we had no plans to appeal. He will still be pulled out for extra math, which he loves for some unknown reason. He has a buddy over, start of the summer sleepovers, so we haven't told him yet. While I am quite sure he will be disappointed, he wanted to follow the same path his sisters did, staying at our neighborhood school is going to be good for him. In any case, this is good news for the Crystal Spring yearbook staff, which I am supposed to head up next year. Check out our darling cover from this school year. I have no earthly idea how I will top it.

So while we were gone, we had what can only be described as mass murder going on in Peeperville. We lost five of the wee birds in one week. Clearly, a predator had found them and was picking them off, one by one. Our poor neighbors, who were so sweet to look after them, kept having to send us sad texts each time another one disappeared.

All that remains of doomed Jet.

The big girls suffered no losses. We decided the little girls had to be kept in the coop, except when supervised. Tim and I started enjoying morning coffee down with the hens and the kids would alternate shifts to give the smaller chicks time out in the yard. Morrigan discovered there was excellent wifi reception down there and personally spent hours minding them. But we still were not sure who was to blame for the deaths.

And then there were three.

On my watch, there was a sudden kerfuffle. I looked over and there was the orange feral cat, with whom we had peacefully coexisted for years, hunting my babies. Yelling something akin to, "Get away from my birds you motherf*cker!" I scared the cat away. Unfortunately, one of the large hens freaked out too and flew over the fence, into the weedy wilds of our hilly backyard. The danger was still likely in the area, so I sprung into action. Dressed in mountain friendly flip flops, I went searching for my lost girl. Down here.

Good news was I found her easily and returned her to safety. The bad news was while trying to get back up the hill, I slipped and went rolling down, end over end, like something out of a bad movie, losing a shoe in the process. I'm a bit battered and bruised, but the chickens and I are intact.

Now, to eliminate the threat. Unfortunately for them, feral cats are not protected by hawks. I called animal control and got a trap so we could "relocate" this kitty. (Actually, they told me, "Ma'am, we may have to put it down rather than relocate it." I told them I was completely down with that, I just didn't want to open with violence.) So far the trap is a bust. One night we caught a possum, which we released. The next night, the trap was sprung, the bait gone, but completely empty. Hmmm. Last night, the food was gone, trap sprung and this:

Quite frankly defining WTF. We may need to set up a cage cam to find out what in the sam hill is going on down there. 

On a more productive front, one night I was watching over the girls, enjoying an adult beverage, when the killer kitty showed his face. I blasted at him with an airsoft rifle. Tim came home to me brandishing the rifle, demanding more ammo.  Don't know if it was a hit, the cat ran off, but he hasn't come back yet. But the attrition has stopped for the moment. I can only imagine this story has another chapter.

Let's end on a high note! The pool is open and we have moved into summer mode, complete with near nightly sleepovers. 

It is getting easy to tell the Margarets apart.

We're all hoping to get in a lot of tennis and pool time. We certainly have so far this weekend.

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